Philadelphia Sports: Angelo Cataldi still going after 30 years

(Photo by Tom Mihalek-Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Mihalek-Pool/Getty Images) /

As 94 WIP’s Angelo Cataldi celebrates his 30th anniversary of being on-air in Philadelphia this Monday, his massive contributions are worth reflection.

Weekday mornings just wouldn’t be the same in Philadelphia without Angelo Cataldi, 94 WIP‘s long-tenured sportstalker/shock jock/voice of the fan. Love him or hate him, his impact on the market as a whole and the individual careers of numerous other media personalities can not be denied.

As for me personally, I’ve been listening to Angelo on an almost daily basis for over 20 years, at least on the days when he actually works and isn’t down the shore, having a medical procedure or is otherwise not in on a certain day.

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But kidding aside, Cataldi has established a well-oiled machine and a forum for some of the top experts in the country to come on and give their views. It’s also led to some interesting guests and conversations over the years, with Cataldi never one to shy away from tough questions.

This kind of service has been invaluable to the Philadelphia sports devotee. We have an insatiable hunger to know as much as possible, and “Angelo and the Morning Team” has long been the place to get at the heart of the issues that matter most to local fans.

Angelo Cataldi
Angelo Cataldi /

Angelo Cataldi

Angelo Cataldi has created quite a career on Philadelphia radio over the last 30 years, even if there are no Getty images of him available for me to use as the cover photo for this story.

Angelo’s longevity has allowed him to establish a personal relationship with the listeners, and the group of colorful “regulars” who call in have only added to the show’s personality and flow over the many years. I find myself irritated at times with this because I think it panders to the lowest common denominator, but I can see the appeal in hearing from such “voices of the fan”, even if I sometimes feel myself getting dumber by hearing it. But hey, I can always turn it off if I don’t like it.

Yet I don’t. I can’t picture not listening to Angelo for at least part of the morning. Is that weird? You tell me.

There is something that’s so familiar about hearing Angelo and his crew in the AM, and nothing in Philly sports ever seems truly “official” until he has chimed in about it. Credit to the man for building up such a legacy. You don’t get there by being polite and boring, and Angelo has found just the right formula over the years where he is the correct amount of “edgy” without getting into unlikable territory.

Even if you aren’t a fan of Angelo, you can at least admit that he’s not Howard Eskin or Mike Missanelli. And that’s a good thing for Cataldi.

Like every successful personality in the history of radio, Angelo has an image and a “shtick” that he plays up. By his own admission, his is “tall, awkward loudmouth from out of town” who chose to come Philadelphia, made it his home and became one of us. It’s accompanied by some bravado and cockiness, but it’s entertainment, so it’s to be expected.

As far as I can tell, Angelo hasn’t lost a step in his ability to spearhead an engaging show that people will give their time and attention to. For me, it started as a youngster, and my fanhood of Cataldi was cemented when I got the chance to meet him at a remote broadcast in Atlantic City. I was able to interact with him a handful of other times during those formative years, and he was one of the inspirations for the career path that I decided I wanted for myself.

And even though I never made radio my ultimate career, I did have a brief stint in it, an enjoyable experience that might never have been possible without what I gained from listening to Angelo. Best of all, I met my future wife at the station where I worked, so I guess I have Angelo to thank for that as well! I realize that’s extremely roundabout, but it’s a fun talking point for me nonetheless.

Cataldi is not without his detractors, and many seem to flat-out loathe him. I guess it just goes back to that old adage of how you can’t please all of the people all of the time. But from Wing Bowl to getting Donovan McNabb booed at the NFL draft, few have shaped the face of Philadelphia sports in any capacity as much as Angelo Cataldi has done over the last three decades.

And let’s not forget his days at The Great Sports Debate on PRISM or his own programs during the early days of Comcast SportsNet. Though Cataldi hasn’t dabbled in television in quite a few years, those shows helped to introduce him to an even bigger audience than radio would have alone.

He has earned the right to hang up his microphone whenever he so chooses, and maybe some will be grateful to see him go. But for now, Angelo motors on. His reasons to keep going? I like to think that he doesn’t want to disappoint the many loyal fans that have made him such a big success. And he also just wants to irritate those who want to see him gone.

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Brash and boisterous since 1990 and with no end in sight, Angelo Cataldi has shown that he is a perfect fit for the Philadelphia audience. He can now be officially declared an institution. Coincidentally, that might be where all of his listeners are headed.